STRENGTHENED ANTI-HOSPITAL DEPOSIT LAW PROVIDES INCENTIVES TO PRO-POOR HOSPITALS

The recently passed Anti-Hospital Deposit law (AHDL) authored by Senator Risa Hontiveros recognizes and rewards hospitals that will provide medical treatment to poor emergency patients.

Hontiveros said that the law assures hospitals that the cost of basic emergency care and transportation will be reimbursed by PhilHealth. She said that other expenses incurred by the clinic or hospital when providing emergency care to poor or indigent patients which are not reimbursed by PhilHealth shall be tax deductible.

"While the law will heavily penalize hospitals that demand any form of advanced payment or deposit before treating emergency patients, the measure will recognize and reward the efforts of private hospitals in helping address the country's public health care gap," Hontiveros said.

"I am confident that the majority of our hospitals are compliant w/ the law.Thus, those who are saying that the law is detrimental to the interests of hospitals are wrong," Hontiveros added.

Under the new law, stricter penalties would be served to hospitals who would refuse treatment of emergency case patients because of a lack of money. Penalties now include imprisonment of up to four to six years for hospitals who demand any deposit or other forms of advance payment as a pre-requisite for admission or medical treatment of an emergency patient.

Fines have also been increased to reflect the strengthening of the regulation. Hospitals that refuse to provide emergency patients with basic care face penalties ranging from Php100,000 to Php1,000,000. It also gives authority to the Department of Health (DoH) to revoke the license of a health facility after three repeated violations committed pursuant to an established policy of the hospital or clinic or upon the instruction of its management.

Meanwhile, the law provides that the cost of the basic emergency care incurred shall be tax deductible in favor of the said hospital or medical clinic that has given basic emergency medical services to the poor and indigent patient.

Aside providing tax deductions for compliant hospitals, the said Senate bill also hopes to create a Health Facilities Oversight Board, chaired by a Department of Health representative. "The Board will provide a clear channel for redress of grievances by patients and ensure their rights and welfare," Hontiveros said.

Source: Senate of the Philippines

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